Volume VII
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Service Contracts Ordinance

Arrangement of Sections

1. Short title.

2. Interpretation.

3. Verbal contract of service to be a contract of service for one month.

4. Wages when payable.

5. Term of verbal contract for journeyman artificer.

6. Proviso, if service be continued after the time agreed upon.

7. Written contracts with servants and journeymen artificers for terms of service exceeding one month, but not exceeding three years.

8. Contracts for the hire of persons to be employed in the service of Government.

9. Contracts entered into in India for hire and service in Sri Lanka.

10. Written contracts how determinable.

11. Court may make abatement of wages or damages in case of misconduct.

12. Persons giving false character.

13. Servant, making false statement of former employment or altering character.

14. Servant, denying former employment.

15. Transfer of contract of service to new proprietor or manager of estate.

16. Penal provisions of this Ordinance not to affect civil actions.

17. Employer bound to find lodging, food, and medical care to sick servant.

11 of 1865,

16 of 1884,

16 of 1905,

23 of 1912,

41 of 1916,

43 of 1921,

27 of 1927.

AN ORDINANCE to amend and consolidate the law relating to servants, labourers, and journeymen artificers under contracts of hire and service.

[Date of Commencement:1st July,1866]

1. Short title.

This Ordinance may be cited as the Service Contracts Ordinance.

2. Interpretation.

The word—

"servant” shall, unless otherwise expressly qualified, extend to and include menial, domestic, and other like servants, pioneers, kanganies, and other labourers, whether employed in agricultural, road, railway, or other like work.

3. Verbal contract of service to be a contract of service for one month.

Every verbal contract for the hire of any servant, except for work usually performed by the day, or by the job, or by the journey, shall (unless otherwise expressly stipulated, and notwithstanding that the wages under such contract shall be payable at a daily rate) be deemed and taken in law to be a contract for hire and service for the period of one month, and to be renewable from month to month, and shall be deemed and taken in law to be so renewed, unless 1 month's previous notice or warning be given by either party to the other of his intention to determine the same at the expiry of a month from the day of giving such notice.

4. Wages when payable.

(1) The wages of such servant shall be payable monthly, except where the service shall have been determined by notice on a day other than the last day of the month, in which case the wages for the broken period shall be payable to the day the service is so determined, and such wages, where the same shall not be payable at a monthly rate, shall be computed according to the number of days on which such servant shall have been able and willing to work; or, if payable at a monthly rate, shall be in proportion to the number of days on which he shall have been so able and willing as aforesaid. Any employer shall be entitled to discharge any such servant from his service under any such contract, without previous notice, provided such servant be instantly paid his wages for the time he has served, and also for 1 month from the time of such discharge:

Provided always that any such contract may at any time be determined by the misconduct of either party in their relative capacity of master and servant, which may be proved by either party against the other.

(2) Where any contract is so determined by misconduct on the part of the master, he shall pay to a servant, justly demanding discharge on account of such misconduct, wages up to the date of discharge and in addition, in the case of a servant employed on a contract for hire and service for a period of time, a sum equivalent to the wages which would be earned by such servant during the period of his engagement, such period however not exceeding one month for the purpose of this section.

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